Monday, November 19, 2012

Internationalization, whether you want it or not...

This week I'm in Denmark, and noticing some interesting software behavior that I've also seen on some previous trips to places where English is not the native language. Software companies are slowly figuring out that not everyone speaks English, and adapting the software based on the location. But they can be a little over-broad in applying it.

For example, if I open a new window in Chrome and type a search into the taskbar, it by default searches on, giving me all the auxiliary text on the page in Danish. It does this on my computer, which has a locale setting that is not Danish, and even though I am both logged into my google account and signed into Chrome. If I click "Search" from the black bar at the top of the window it goes to the right place, but who actually does that instead of just opening a new tab and typing in the omnibox?

Oddly, this only happens on the Mac laptop, not on the Chromebook.

We also have Netflix, and as part of my determined attempt to stay awake until something like local bedtime I was watching it yesterday on the iPad. It warned me that some content might not be available, but generally worked well, but had decided that it needed to turn on Danish subtitles for me. Of course this a setting, and there's a button to change it in the upper right. I can't turn them off, but I have my choice of subtitles in Danish, Finnish, Norwegian Bokmål, or Swedish.

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